We saw a cracking couple of days racing last weekend at Newbury and there is plenty to take out of it. Let’s start with Friday and a Venetia Williams inmate named Fanion D’Estruval, he won head in chest and, although not going on the Horse To Follow list, he gets put in the tracker to watch next time. Later in the afternoon, Champ rocked up and it wasn’t plain sailing as he ran into a loose horse at the third fence and then all but collided with the running rail at the finish. Considering what happened to him I thought he was impressive and it will be interesting to see where he goes at Cheltenham. Next up was our old favourite Paisley Park; he won, however it wasn’t a characteristic run from him as he was very fresh and will only improve, he looks to have the Stayers division at his mercy again this year.
On to Saturday and the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase. Mister Malarky ran well enough for us (maybe the Welsh National could be interesting with him) however it was young Ben Jones who took the limelight with De Rasher Counter. I have mentioned in this column before about the young Welsh jockey contingent, Ben must be pinching himself as he just keeps taking these big Saturday pots.
On Sunday all heads turned to Fairyhouse and there was one glaring run that got H on H off the sofa and that was Honeysuckle. She won the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle taking her race record to six wins from six runs. That recent performance was marked down as a stone better than any previous and the Irish Champion Hurdle looks next on the agenda at Christmas. She is currently 10/1 for the Champion Hurdle in March and that looks mighty appealing considering she will also get a 7lb mares allowance…let’s have a play antepost on her !
Horses To Follow update..
Firstly I want to add Umbrigado, an appearance like a film star and knows it. What is encouraging is that he looks Oscar material and goes on the list. He ran well at Haydock recently in a competitive hurdle and I am looking forward to his next outing, it may be this Saturday at Sandown.
Secondly let’s throw in Kalashnikov who got mugged on the line by Oldgrangewood on the Friday. He was always travelling well and in the mix and looked as though he had done enough. This was a strong performance and I can’t wait to see where they go with him next as this six year old doesn’t know how to run a bad race, having had thirteen starts and never been out of the first two in all of his completed runs. He was put up six pounds for the performance which is bit harsh in my view and might make it difficult in handicap company, however I do have the Ryanair at the Cheltenham Festival on my radar for him. There are plenty further up in the betting that could take other engagements and the 16/1 available now could look pretty big on the day so well worth a dabble in my book.
This weekend the show heads to Sandown and my favourite race of the whole year, the Tingle Creek Chase. I am delighted to see that Defi Du Seuil heads to Esher and I think the uphill finish will play perfectly into his hands. It is looking like it could be thriller and if you have a spare five minutes at 3pm on Saturday tune in your TV, you won’t be disappointed.
STOP PRESS..It all looks very difficult at the weekend and for the bet of the week I am going to take you to the first race at Sedgefield on Friday and Juals Spirit. He is a three year old taking on older horses and gets a hefty weight for age allowance at this time of year. It looks like we will get at least eight in the field and he is a knocking each way investment to me.